Oilers Prospect Lagesson Ready for North America

It seems there is a ton of news coming out of Europe that affects the Edmonton Oilers. It was recently noted that Yohann Auvitu, Iiro Pakarinen, and Anton Slepyshev are all headed to European teams next season. Auvitu, 28, is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) that is reportedly heading back to play in Finland next season.

It’s rumored Pakarinen, 26, has signed with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL. Slepyshev, 23, had his KHL rights traded from Salavat Yulaev Ufa to CSKA Moscow. TSN’s Ryan Rishaug is also reporting the Oilers are close to signing SHL defenseman Joel Persson.

Related: Oilers Close to Signing Vaxjo Lakers Defenseman Joel Persson

One piece of news that seems to have slipped through the cracks is that William Lagesson is reportedly heading to North America next season.

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The news comes from the official team website of Djurgarden, Lagesson’s club team back in Sweden, from a few weeks ago.

“William Lagesson has been on loan this season, but returns to Canada. Our loan agreement with William Lagesson, belonging to Edmonton, expires last April. Both Edmonton and Williams’s ambition is to play in Edmonton next season and we wish William good luck, says Joakim Eriksson.”

Djurgarden’s official website

What Do We Know About William Lagesson?

Lagesson is the Oilers fourth-round pick (91st overall) from the 2014 NHL Draft. At 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds, there’s plenty to like about the left side defenseman who, as mentioned, was loaned to Djurgardens this season. Lagesson signed a three-year entry-level contract (ELC) with a $741,667 cap hit last April.

He’ll join a blossoming core of defense prospects in Bakersfield for the 2018-19 season. There’s some intrigue when it comes to Lagesson. The 22-year-old had a great season in Sweden and finished third in team scoring among Djurgardens defenders with 13 points in 49 games.

William Lagesson (Credit: Connor Mah/Flickr)
William Lagesson (Credit: Connor Mah/Flickr)

Lagesson also logged the second-most minutes (an average of 19:27 per night) on Djurgardens’ blue line behind Linus Hultstrom. He emerged as Djurgardens’ No. 2 defenseman and plays a fairly complete game. As The Athletic’s Jonathan Willis puts it, Lagesson established himself as a solid first-pairing defenseman in the SHL.

He’s a nasty, physical defenseman who’s got great awareness in the defensive zone. He’s quite poised but isn’t afraid to mix it up. Lagesson also logged a ton of minutes on Djurgarden’s penalty kill units and was heavily relied upon. Finally getting him into the Oilers pro system will be worth the wait.

Where Does Lagesson Play in 2018-19?

The 22-year-old projects as a solid shutdown defenseman with second-pairing potential. Even if he ends up as the fifth-best defenseman on an NHL roster that would be a bonus. The caveat is that Lagesson isn’t an overly offensive gun. He put up 13 points in 49 games with Djurgardens this season.

Still, he’s a guy that has played quality minutes everywhere he’s played, he’s done well with Sweden in international competition, and is an “in your face” defender. Essentially he’s a tough customer, and the type of nasty defender the Oilers need on their backend. Can he become a Swedish version of Jason Smith? That would be fantastic.

Projecting Edmonton Oilers Defense for 2018-19

Left Defense

Right Defense

Oscar Klefbom

Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse

Kris Russell

Andrej Sekera

Matt Benning

Joel Persson

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Lagesson likely won’t factor into Edmonton’s main club roster for opening night for the 2018-19 season. He’ll be penciled into the lineup in Bakersfield, but don’t be surprised if he gets a small sample of games in the NHL next season.

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Edmonton is loaded up on the left side next season with Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, and Andrej Sekera. He’s also playing behind Caleb Jones down in the AHL, but he’s walking into a great opportunity to jump into top-four minutes immediately with the Condors.

2018-19 Bakersfield Condors Defense Depth Chart

With Jones, Lagesson, Ethan Bear, and Ryan Mantha essentially being the core defense pieces down on the farm, the Oilers future is looking great. Don’t let the whole shutdown defenseman scare you off from thinking Lagesson has a heavy stick. He’s actually quite a good puck-mover.

Projecting Bakersfield Condors Defense for 2018-19

Left Defense

Right Defense

Caleb Jones

Ethan Bear
William Lagesson

Ryan Mantha

Ryan Stanton

Eric Gryba

Logan Day

Expect Lagesson to log big minutes on the Condors penalty kill under new head coach Jay Woodcroft. He’ll also likely see lots of minutes against the opposition’s top offensive units as well. Lagesson could be one of the big surprises in Edmonton’s pro system next season.

I’d give it another year (at the earliest) until Lagesson challenges for top-six minutes with the Oilers but fully expect (as mentioned) for him to get a sample size like Bear did this year. Do you agree or disagree? Are you excited about Lagesson’s future with Edmonton? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.